Marlon Zamora is the environmental coordinator for NIQUIPO, a local NGO in Nueva Guinea focused on youth policy. After he participated in the CLPM program, Zamora was selected to attend a George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) seminar on leadership and effective governance in Washington last July. Upon his return, he met with the mayor of Nueva Guinea, and the mayor’s campaign manager asked him to lead a workshop for campaign workers and volunteers on the political communication and leadership skills he had learned through the CLPM and the GWU seminar. By the end of the campaign, Zamora had become one of the mayor´s key campaign advisers, despite the fact that he does not belong to any political party.
“When the mayor asked me to advise him, I wasn't sure how helpful I could be, but it turned out that the lessons I learned in the CLPM and at the GSPM seminar were very useful and effective,” he said.
Zamora continues to work for NIQUIPO and uses his CLPM experience to train local groups about the importance of taking the environment into account when creating plans for local development. He also volunteers for the Youth Voice Program, which works with young people in Nueva Guinea to raise awareness of sexual health, gender issues and human rights.
Before participating in the CLPM, Miriam Lara, an active member of PLI, her political party, worked to train community residents in the department of Masaya to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. After completing the program, PLI selected Lara to run for city council. She was placed fourth on the party’s list of 32 candidates, but the party won only three seats.
Despite her narrow defeat, Lara continues to use the skills she learned in the CLPM to improve communities in Masaya by her work on the “Constructing Disaster Resilient Communities” project. The program taught her to set specific goals at the outset of a project and create action plans to achieve them, she said. She also credits those skills with helping her come so close to victory in her city council race.
“The program broadened my network of contacts and introduced me to a number of new ideas that have proven useful to my work,” she said. “I was able to get to know the other students, who come from across the political and geographic spectrum, which is something that can be difficult.”
Lara said she stays in touch with many former CLPM students to collaborate on projects like the one she is working on in Masaya, discuss how to react to the political situation in Nicaragua after the elections and bounce ideas off of each other.
Silvia Gutiérrez, a member of the MRS party since 2006, participated in the first year of the CLPM, which concluded in May 2011. The MRS then selected her to represent the department of Managua as a candidate for substitute deputy in the National Assembly. She was elected in November 2011 and credits the communication skills she gained through the program in helping her run a successful campaign. In her role, Gutiérrez works on legislation that supports Nicaraguan youth and women. She sits on the Justice Committee and the Budget, Economy and Production Committee, and has helped draft legislation to protect families and children, and to create a public fund for loans to youth entrepreneurs. Gutiérrez said that the CLPM course on negotiation was particularly relevant to her work as a deputy.
“The tools that I gained have helped me become a more active member of the Assembly and to reach consensus across party lines,” she said.
Gutiérrez has also been an active member since 2010 of the MRS Women’s Network, which works to incorporate women fully in Nicaragua political and civic life.